Is your middle school or high school student looking for something fun to do this summer? Parents can encourage students in their pursuit of education after high school by enrolling them in one of the free summer workshops and academies offered for 8th-12th graders at colleges and universities across the state, in which students explore areas of interest and potential future career possibilities.
While swimming and snow-cone stands are a lot of fun, middle school and high school students can take advantage of opportunities to explore interests and develop skills by engaging in college campus experience. Spending time engaged in on-campus learning academies and workshops provides students with authentic college experiences that can influence choices about pursuing education after high school and possible careers. For example:
Is your student interested in science detective work? Check out Cameron University's Science Detective Summer Academy, hosted on campus May 28-June 3 for 8th- through 10th-grade students, www.cameron.edu.
Students fascinated by aviation and aeronautics can learn more about Southeastern Oklahoma State's Aviation and Science camp “Take Flight” offered June 18-22 for 8th- and 9th-graders at www.se.edu.
The University of Oklahoma Pre-Collegiate Programs offers “Design and the Built Environment: Collaborate, Create, Construct,” a weeklong on-campus camp for 9th- and 10th-graders, June 16-21, www.ou.edu.
Does your student have a green thumb? Oklahoma State University offers Camp TURF (Tomorrow's Undergraduates Realizing the Future), a two-week residential academy in which students explore potentials for careers outdoors, such as horticulture and landscape architecture and management, www.osu.edu.
Math whizzes should investigate East Central University's “Coding Theory, Competitive Strategies, Risk Analysis and Other Mathematical Pursuits,” a summer academy for 10th-12th graders.
For medically minded 8th- and 9th-graders, perhaps Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College's “Exceptional Direction United in Culture, Academics, Technology, and Excitement in Medical Education” (E.D.U.C.A.T.E. M.E.), a June 25-29 workshop, would be of interest, www.nwosu.edu.
This summer, more than 20 Oklahoma colleges and universities will host free summer activities for students, providing more than 30 opportunities to experience learning and interacting with other students in a college setting. Encourage your student to beat summertime boredom by enrolling in and attending a workshop that provides an opportunity to increase academic resumes at one of the many on-campus activities taking place across the state. Find out more information regarding specific camps and workshops by visiting college and university websites, or visit www.OKCollegeStart.org to learn more about summer opportunities in Oklahoma.
Opportunities to attend free summer activities do not stop in Oklahoma; organizations in other states also offer summer activities and some are free for those who qualify. For example, Princeton University provides a unique college experience for 20 high school junior students from across the United States. Princeton's free, including travel expenses and room and board, 10-day seminar provides offers hands-on experience including covering and reporting on sporting events working beside university professors and professional journalists, www.princeton.edu.
Additional free U.S. summer experiences are available for low-income students through organizations such as QuestBridge, which aim to provide opportunities for underserved student populations at universities across the nation. Students attend pre-college programs to explore a diverse range of topics, from religious studies to social entrepreneurship and sports business to Shakespeare, at prestigious universities across the country such as Yale, Harvard and Notre Dame, www.QuestBridge.org.
It is never too early to begin investigating postsecondary education, and colleges and universities close to home or far away. They provide excellent opportunities for middle and high school students to spend time on a college campus engaging in authentic learning experiences. Investigate the many opportunities and contact the sponsoring universities and organizations now to secure a spot for your student to attend.
Gregg Garn is director of the K20 Center at the University of Oklahoma. His column is offered in conjunction with the center's GEAR UP for SUCCESS program. For more information about the program, visit k20center.ou.edu. For more information about college awareness, go to www.OKcollegestart.org or call 225-9239.